Top Ten

March 9, 2018

University STEM programs should overhaul curricula to boost equity: report

Universities should overhaul their curricula in the STEM disciplines in order to strengthen the appeal of these fields to women, says a newly released report. Published by the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders, the report recommends that curricula must emphasize inclusiveness and support rather than competitiveness between students in order to achieve the goal of greater gender parity. The report also urges the Canadian and US governments to work with private sector partners to develop online web portals that would offer students in junior high and high school a centralized location to learn about STEM careers and available opportunities. Globe and Mail

ACAD’s new university status requires a boost in funding: opinion

“The Alberta College of Art and Design’s official designation as a university is most welcome and overdue,” writes David Marsden for the Calgary Herald. “The problem is the provincial government seems half-hearted in its acknowledgment of ACAD’s role in not only helping artists reach their own creative potential, but contribute to our culture and the economy through their talents.” Marsden argues that without a commensurate funding increase to go with its university status, ACAD will not be able to make much-needed upgrades to its facility. “Our building is very outdated, it isn’t as functional as it could be, so we are working on how we can modernize it,” says ACAD President Daniel Doz, who adds that efficient use of the space could allow the school to admit more students. Calgary Herald

YorkU rejects counter-offer from contract faculty, TA union

The bargaining team at York University has rejected a counter-offer made by the union representing striking staff at the school, arguing that the counter-offer includes demands that are beyond the school’s capacities. According to a YorkU statement, the union asked that 30 contract faculty be appointed to full-time positions in each year of the collective agreement, with 20 of these jobs being tenure-stream positions that would be filled without the standard “open collegial search.” YorkU's statement adds that the counter-offer proposed a 3.5% wage increase per year, which it claims is roughly double the Ontario university average increase. The union says that it is demanding better job security, better funding for assistant positions, improved equity and accessibility in the workplace, and for the school to replace at least some of the 800 jobs that were recently cut. CBC | YorkU | OCUFA | Maclean’s

“Change will come” on equity, diversity, inclusion: four university presidents

“Canadian students are leaders in advocating for equality, diversity and inclusion and they rightly won’t stand for the status quo. We are with them,” write The King’s University President Melanie Humphreys, St Thomas University President Dawn Russell, University of Regina President Vianne Timmons, and University of Winnipeg President Annette Trimbee. The authors applaud Canada's recent federal budget for using a gender-based and diversity analysis on each of its provisions in order to build a workforce “that respects and rewards every individual for their skills and contributions.” However, the authors note that gaps still exist, particularly within STEM disciplines and among university leadership positions. Edmonton Journal

Dal receives nearly $1.9M for innovative clean energy projects

Dalhousie University has received a $1.9M investment in clean technology projects from Research Nova Scotia Trust. “We’re incredibly proud of our world-class researchers whose innovative work on clean technology has had a significant impact on our province, our country and the world,” says Dal Faculty of Engineering Dean Josh Leon. “The investment being made by the Government of Nova Scotia and the Research Nova Scotia Trust means that they can continue contributing to building a bolder, brighter future for all of us.” The funding will reportedly support projects in additive manufacturing and carbon nanotubes. Dal

McMaster, Hamilton celebrate opening of $33M biomedical research centre

Officials from McMaster University, the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, and the City of Hamilton have celebrated the official opening of the Fraunhofer Project Centre for Biomedical Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing (BEAM). The $33M biomedical research centre is the result of a partnership between the university, city, and Fraunhofer. “We really think it is going to help to raise McMaster's profile,” said McMaster Vice-President of Research Rob Baker. “Partnering with Fraunhofer is a big feather in our cap.” Hamilton Spectator

New partnership between HEC Montréal, ESCP Europe to deliver dual Master’s degree

A newly signed partnership between ESCP Europe and HEC Montréal allows students from both institutions to earn a dual Master’s degree, HEC Montréal has announced. As of next year, five students from each school will reportedly be eligible to earn a Master of Science (MSc) in Management from HEC Montréal and a Master in Management (MIM) Grande École from ESCP Europe. “We are very proud of this agreement, which will give talented and motivated young students a trans-Atlantic experience combining a cutting-edge field in which HEC Montréal is known worldwide, such as Global Supply Chain Management, with one of the world’s top Management programs, at ESCP,” said Federico Pasin, Secretary General and Director of International Activities at HEC Montréal. HEC Montréal

Gilligan’s Island pamphlet no laughing matter at UMontréal

Administrators at Université de Montréal remain embroiled in a protracted legal battle over a 2015 student union pamphlet that likened UMontréal rector Guy Breton to the Skipper on Gilligan’s Island, La Presse. Lawyers representing the university argue that in addition to smearing Breton’s reputation, the student union produced additional pamphlets featuring the UMontréal logo and coat-of-arms, thereby creating confusion around the legitimacy of the pamphlets. Magali Picard, Regional Executive Vice-President of a union affiliate, expressed surprise that the case has reached the Superior Court, adding that it distracts from more pressing questions about labour relations at UMontréal. La Presse

UWaterloo students demand more access to counselling

In the wake of a 22-year old undergraduate student's suicide on Monday, CBC reports that University of Waterloo students are demanding improved access to on-campus mental health services. “If you don't state that basically you're suicidal, then you're not going to get help for a while,” Lee Mousa, a regular user of UW’s on-campus counselling services, told CBC. Students reportedly staged a walkout Thursday morning to draw attention to the lack of resources for student mental health. “[Students] have to wait a month to two months to actually get something, and for a lot of them, that had very serious consequences for them,” Mousa added. CBC adds that UWaterloo will release a report on student mental health services on March 14. CBC | The Record | CBC

Racial bias in online education revealed by new study

While many proponents of online education have argued that it is a great educational leveller, new research suggests that racial and gender biases persist in course discussions. The study found that instructors are 94% more likely to respond to discussion forum posts by white male students than by other students. “Our results show compelling experimental evidence that instructor discrimination exists in discussion forums of online classrooms,” says the paper. “Simply attaching a name that connotes a specific race and gender to a discussion forum post changes the likelihood that an instructor will respond to that post.” The paper also notes that the gap in instructor response rates was the same across various subject areas. Inside Higher Ed